Guaraldo - Storylines

Nimeke: Storylines: Politics, History and Narrative from an Arendtian Perspective

Tekijä: Olivia Guaraldo

ISBN: 951-39-0978-6

Julkaisija: University of Jyväskylä

Julkaistu: 2001



OLIVIA GUARALDO ANALYZES Hannah Arendt’s conception of storytelling and endows it with relevance in historical and political thinking. Her aim is to ‘mobilize’ concepts, to displace the conceptual mastery of the tradition of political thought by questioning its verticality and abstractness.

BY DECONSTRUCTING SOME VERTICAL metaphors of the metaphysical tradition, Guaraldo exposes the arbitrariness of this tradition, its abstractness and detachment, in order to situate politics and history at a different level. Politics as the realm of contingent appearances and history as a togetherness of stories are considered in relation to various textual examples: from Homer to Thucydides, from Joseph Conrad to Primo Levi, Guaraldo carries out a narrative interpretation of both history and politics in order to provide more fair accounts of the realm of the vita activa.

A NARRATIVE APPROACH TO HISTORY leads Guaraldo to a critique of the category of historical necessity whereas a narrative approach to politics becomes precious in displacing the rigid boundaries of both identity and representation.

“THE ORIGINALITY OF THIS WORK consists in going with Arendt beyond Arendt, in exploring the possibilities‚ which the Arendtian re-definition of politics and history has opened up. The main question that Underlies the thesis is: is it possible to displace the hierarchical notion of truth? Is it thinkable to question the compelling and vertical power of philosophical metaphors, in order to open a horizontal space of meaning‚ Which could reveal its political and, we might add‚ ethical implications?
GUARALDO SHOWS BRILLIANTLY that not only Arendtian understanding of politics and history, but also other important “philosophical anti-philosophical" categories, are molded by the confrontation with the totalitarian phenomenon. This is as if the antitheoretical attitude towards History and toward Politics were the aporethical answers to the paradox of History.”

-Simona Forti, University of Turin

“FOLLOWING ARENDT’S STATEMENT that “No philosophy, no analysis, no aphorism, be it ever so profound, can compare in intensity and richness of meaning with a properly narrated story‚” Olivia Guaraldo examines the “incomprehensible reality” of the 19th and 20th centuries through literary examples, suggesting that "literature might offer a way of understanding without justifying”. In other words, Olivia Guaraldo’s work is a serious challenge to the traditional practice of theory both in the political and historical fields, a challenge that may have important consequences in our understanding of the most actual and relevant political issues.”
-Annabel Herzog, University of Haifa